Electronic music stars split from Rock to form own lobbying group

 

For too long, rock’s guitar-wielding stars have sneered at the button-pushing upstarts of electronic music.

But now the dominance of dance music has prompted its leading lights to create the first lobbying group designed purely to advance the claims of electronic music.

Leading DJs, musicians, managers, record labels and festival promoters have joined forces to create the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM), a trade organisation with a mission to “represent the common interests of all individuals and companies whose business is electronic dance music and to advocate on behalf of electronic dance music as a musical genre.”

The formal breakaway of electronic dance music, incorporating the sub-genres of techno, dubstep, and house, from hoary old rock music, is timely.

On Wednesday night, Kraftwerk play the first of eight sold-out special concerts at Tate Modern, with tickets to see the German electronic music pioneers trading for £500 on secondary websites.

Meanwhile the US has fallen under the spell of Electronic Dance Music, turning producers including dubstep star Skrillex and the French producer David Guetta into festival-headlining acts.

“Electronic music has been the red-headed stepchild of music genres,” claims Kurosh Nasseri, a Washington DC-based entertainment lawyer who represents clients including electro producer Armand van Helden and techno DJ Carl Craig.

Nasseri, AFEM co-founder, said: “Despite the longevity of electronic dance music it is still not viewed as a legitimate genre or taken seriously by governments, the media and the industry. It’s time for our business to speak with a unified voice to represent the genre and to address the issues.”

Key demands for AFEM, which has appointed Nile Rodgers, the Chic musician, as Ambassador, include equal representation for dance music at award ceremonies.

“The Brits eliminated the best dance act category in 2005. We’d like to see that reinstated,” said Nasseri, a trustee of the Grammys. He is pushing for the Dance/Electronica category at the US music awards, held this weekend, to be included in the live telecast.

AFEM will also challenge perceptions that dance music festivals are unsafe. “Accidents do happen when large numbers of people come together and the tendency is to blame Electronic Dance Music and make a link with drugs,” Nasseri said. “But it’s ludicrous to ascribe accidents to a musical format. Mishaps occur just the same at rock events.”

The not-for-profit organisation hopes to attract support from artists who have helped popularise electronic music, such as Lady Gaga and Madonna, and hopes that its star names will lobby governments. Nasseri said: “If there are relevant Congressional hearings it would make sense to testify. It helps create legitimacy around the genre.”

AFEM will open offices in the UK and US and its advisory board includes the manager of the chart-topping dance group Swedish House Mafia, Sony Music’s head of Electronic Music and the CEO of Beatport, the leading online music store for DJs.

But who should be allowed to join AFEM’s community of DJs and synth-prodders? Will a rock band which adds electronic beats to boost its commercial prospects be allowed in? “Defining electronic music is difficult,” said Nasseri. “We hope to cast a wide net and I’m tempted to say let’s be inclusive if there’s any doubt.”

On Wednesday night, Kraftwerk commence their first live UK dates since 2004 with a performance of their classic 1974 Autobahn album. Demand to see the shows caused the Tate Modern website to crash and the gallery said it will set up a dedicated queuing area at the River Entrance for any £60 returned tickets.

Basement Jaxx was the last act to win the Dance Act category at the Brit Awards. The organisers replaced the category in 2005 with a Best Live Act prize, won by Muse. The switch was seen as a snub to a dance scene, which was then perceived to be suffering an artistic decline as guitar bands enjoyed a brief commercial renaissance.

AFEM co-founder Ben Turner, director of Ibiza’s International Music Summit and manager of Detroit techno artist Richie Hawtin, said: “These are extraordinary times for electronic music. We have seen it break through into the mainstream in the US and become the backbone of modern pop music. Yet despite such success, it feels like there is an even bigger need for an Association for Electronic Music to exist and speak with one voice.”

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea